First "hybrid" custom pen

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Matt8643

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Mar 16, 2011
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55
Location
Chino, California
I have been pen turning for over ten years now but only making kitless pens for over a year, and always from resin rods. I work on a wood lathe and not a metal lathe so I I was concerned if I could make a sleeve for a cap with a proper fit or if I would have some other unforeseen issues (I did LOL). But it was a good experience and at least I know it can be done with my current equipment. This is more just an experiment for me and not something I will use, hence 2 different wood blanks and different Diamondcast blanks for the sleeves and section. For those of you that have done these on wood and metal lathes, is there a significant advantage to using a metal lathe? I'm sure I will get one eventually but wondering if I should make it a priority?
 

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duncsuss

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Jun 29, 2012
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Wilmington, MA
Looks great - I don't know if it would be easier to do on a metal lathe, like you I use a wood lathe.

As far as I can tell, the metal lathe advantage is that you can use it to cut threads at any diameter, not just the ones for which you have tap & die sets.
 

mark james

IAP Collection, Curator
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
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11,106
Location
Medina, Ohio
I'm not a kitless guy, so I'm just here for the ride and to admire... I really like your blanks. The profile is excellent, and from my limited knowledge it is an excellent pen as is.

Very nice! (Oh, the pen holder is very powerful...) ;)

Thanks for sharing.
 

Matt8643

Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2011
Messages
55
Location
Chino, California
Looks great - I don't know if it would be easier to do on a metal lathe, like you I use a wood lathe.

As far as I can tell, the metal lathe advantage is that you can use it to cut threads at any diameter, not just the ones for which you have tap & die sets.
Good point! I hadn’t even thought of that.
 

Pierre---

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Jun 10, 2012
Messages
313
Location
France
A metal lathe has pros and cons, especially if you come from the wood world. It is more precise, for instance usually the tail stock does not wobbles like on a wood lathe, so drilling is really accurate, as is holding a piece in the mandrel. You can cut threads of different sizes, but it is rather time consuming. Making a real cylinder is a breeze, making a curve is tricky. A metal lathe is costly, and takes time to master.
 

Weldon0405

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Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
38
Location
North Carolina
Bravo! Excellent job! I have just started into the kitless / bespoke pen arena and will be finishing my second pen tomorrow. I already have plans to try a hybrid in the near future. I also use a wood lathe. So this gives me hope. Cheers
 

darrin1200

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Joined
Mar 17, 2010
Messages
1,468
Location
Lyn, Ontario, Canada
Even with the slight variation in colour tone, that pen looks good.
I have made many kitless pens on my wood lathe. The advantage of the metal lathe, is cutting precise diameter and length tenons. The metal lathe is also perfect for making a precise cylinder, when doing a sleeve insert as you describe above. There are no variations in diameter, leaving voids when its inserted.
Yes, these things can be done on a wood lathe, but it takes a lot longer. There is a lot of measure and cut, measure and cut, measure and....... On the metal lathe it is simply measure, calculate what to remove, adjust cross slide and cut. Metal rings is another point for the metal lathe. While you can cut metal on a wood lathe, it is what a metal lathe is built for.
Even with that all said though, I would never tell someone that they needed a metal lathe to make kitless pens. Other than the thread making, everything can be done on a wood lathe. A metal lathe is a pretty big expense, so I would recommend waiting and making sure you want to take that next step. Then go for it.
 
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